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Old 07-12-2008, 06:50 PM
 
Location: FL/TX Coasts
1,456 posts, read 3,763,364 times
Reputation: 431

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Traveling to France, Switzerland, and England.

• What is the best way to pay for excursions and trips (credit or cash.)?
• Is there a site(s) for day trips or excursions?
• What site would you recommend?


France:
• What would you recommend to see or visit?
• Are they areas to stay away from?
• Any other tips?

Switzerland:
• What would you recommend to see or visit?
• Are they areas to stay away from?
• Any other tips?

England:
• What would you recommend to see or visit?
• Are they areas to stay away from?
• Any other tips?

Last edited by Cougar31; 07-12-2008 at 07:21 PM..
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Old 07-12-2008, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Western Mass.
605 posts, read 2,219,125 times
Reputation: 304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar31 View Post
Traveling to France, Switzerland, and England.

What is the best way to pay for excursions and trips (credit or cash.)?
Is there a site(s) for day trips or excursions?
What site would you recommend?


France:
What would you recommend to see or visit?
Are they areas to stay away from?
Any other tips?

Switzerland:
What would you recommend to see or visit?
Are they areas to stay away from?
Any other tips?

England:
What would you recommend to see or visit?
Are they areas to stay away from?
Any other tips?
Your questions are far too broad to get any really useful answers - these are whole countries you're talking about here. Every single town or city will have areas to stay away from. Places that may be of interest to visit will run into the hundreds/thousands - and which ones are best for you will depend on your own interests, budget, how long you are staying etc. - you haven't provided any of this detail.

Get on Amazon and buy yourself a Lonely Planet on each and do some reading.
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Old 07-12-2008, 07:55 PM
 
Location: FL/TX Coasts
1,456 posts, read 3,763,364 times
Reputation: 431
Traveling to France, Switzerland, and England.

• What is the best way to pay for excursions and trips (credit or cash.)?
• Is there a site(s) for day trips or excursions?
• What site would you recommend?


France(Paris, and day trips from Paris):
• What would you recommend to see or visit?
• Are they areas to stay away from?
• Any other tips?

Switzerland(Geneva, and day trips from Geneva):
• What would you recommend to see or visit?
• Are they areas to stay away from?
• Any other tips?

England(London only):
• What would you recommend to see or visit?
• Are they areas to stay away from?
• Any other tips?
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:33 PM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,350,632 times
Reputation: 4909
I hope you have a lot of money saved for this trip, these are very expensive countries for Americans right now. The British is now double the dollar.

I've traveled quite a bit the last couple of years and so far as spending goes I've learned that the debit card is the best bet. I usually have about $50 in Euro/dollars cash when I arrive in a country so that I have enough money for the taxi or bus fare to my destination. I learned that no matter how or where, exchanging currency is a rip-off. Avoid it. Currency conversion is a money loser.

Just take enough cash to last you a taxi trip, and then debit the local currency from cash machines. You can do this on arrival at any airport, train station, bus station. Get local cash right away.

I also try to avoid using the credit card for hotel payments and purchases. European credit card receipts print out the entire credit card number and expiration date on the receipt. In triplicate. Beware of this. I don't like it.

Generally, I debit cash from ATM's and pay for things in cash as much as possible. European countries are prohibited by law from charging out-of-network fees for ATM machines (unlike America).

Before you leave home, ask your bank to raise your daily cash debit limit so that you can readily access enough cash overseas when you need it.

I have never used a travellers cheque.

Also, all 3 countries you listed use different currencies. The UK currency is the British pound, the French are on the Euro, the Swiss have the franc. None of them will take the other's money. When you leave a country try to have spent all of their currency before you go, or you'll be forced to exchange it at a currency exchange, where fees and conversions cost you big $$.

Coins are not changeable at all. Get rid of all coinage before leaving a country or you're stuck with them forever. This runs into money, Euro coins are $2 and $5 and you don't want to eat too many of those! It really adds up.

I still have about $40 worth of Latvian lat coins in the bottom of a drawer somewhere. I'll never be able to get rid of them.
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:58 PM
 
Location: FL/TX Coasts
1,456 posts, read 3,763,364 times
Reputation: 431
azoria,
Have you used or heard viator.com ?
Thanks
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,362 posts, read 33,038,527 times
Reputation: 13765
I was in Europe in May for three weeks, as said, the dollar is very weak now. This was a spendy trip. Here is my one of my favorite places. Gimmelwald and Murren Switzerland. This is the ride up to the Schilthorn.

Swiss Alps at Murren and Schilthorn.






































[/quote]
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:50 PM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,350,632 times
Reputation: 4909
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar31 View Post
azoria,
Have you used or heard viator.com ?
Thanks
I just googled it. It's a tour company.

I avoid tours and tour companies. They overcharge you and herd you around with a tour leader like being a child in summer camp. I've seen plenty of them around. I have been on a tour thing only a couple of times in a country where there absolutely not a word of English to be found for a thousand miles. In other words, only when there was no other alternative for travel.

That is certainly not the case in England, Switzerland, or France.

I prefer being footloose. Going where my nose takes me, stopping in places I like, leaving places I don't like. You can't have that freedom when you're being rounded up in a tour group.

Tour groups always haul you to the *important* sights. An endless parade of cathedrals and museums and palaces till you can't take it no more.
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Old 07-13-2008, 05:47 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,909,074 times
Reputation: 13245
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar31 View Post
Traveling to France, Switzerland, and England.

• What is the best way to pay for excursions and trips (credit or cash.)?
• Is there a site(s) for day trips or excursions?
• What site would you recommend?


France:
• What would you recommend to see or visit?
• Are they areas to stay away from?
• Any other tips?

Switzerland:
• What would you recommend to see or visit?
• Are they areas to stay away from?
• Any other tips?

England:
• What would you recommend to see or visit?
• Are they areas to stay away from?
• Any other tips?
Cougar
Use a debit card but bring a credit card and keep them separate.
I agree with azoria that tour groups, while they cover a lot, do not allow much independent movement (and very little time to reflect).
If you tend to be more passive, and do not want to plan your trip yourself, a tour is perfect for you.

How to structure your trip depends hugely on what you like (art? nightlife? architecture? history? adventure? fine dining?), but also on when you are going and how much time you have.
As a very general rule, it's good to spend one week in each country.
If you can't do that, it helps to develop a loop that covers as much as you can in the amount of time you have.
If you can fly open jaw (into one city and out another), that helps too.

Some thoughts:
France
I suppose the "greatest hits" would be Paris, the Normandy beaches, and the South of France. Needless to say, this is leaving out a lot.
I quite enjoy the southwest of France; Toulouse is a vibrant and lovely city.
Switzerland
Coming from Colorado, I was not as blown away by the Alps as many tourists are going to be. You, a flatlander from Florida and Texas, might find the mountains and valleys quite breathtaking. I found Swiss cities to be very clean and ordered and a bit on the sterile side. Look into Gimmelwald and Interlaken.
Bring lots and lots of money.
England
London is a must.
As the Samuel Johnson saying goes, when a man is tired of London he is tired of life. And if you plan correctly, there are many things to do in London that cost little or no money. The British Museum is well worth it, and free; and a lot of other activities and sites are, as well. Skip the London Dungeon, it is a touristy rip-off. Buy a ticket for the hop-on-hop-off bus that takes you all over London, showing the sights. Get off when you see something you like, then get back on when the next bus comes around.
Big Bus
The rest of England depends, once again, on what you like.
From Northumberland to Cornwall, England is brimming with atmosphere and colorful history. I especially enjoy gardens, the Roman and medieval ruins. Castles abound.
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Old 07-13-2008, 10:42 AM
 
Location: FL/TX Coasts
1,456 posts, read 3,763,364 times
Reputation: 431
is a VISA required for US citizens to enter Switzerland?
-If I am correct no VISA is needed for either England nor France!
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Old 07-13-2008, 11:35 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,909,074 times
Reputation: 13245
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar31 View Post
is a VISA required for US citizens to enter Switzerland?
-If I am correct no VISA is needed for either England nor France!
No visa needed for Switzerland, just your passport.

Visa info (broken link)
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